Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Maybe I'm Not Autistic

Kalisha has been making huge strides in many areas of her life in the past six months. She has met several challenges and overcome some extremely difficult things that were not in her 'comfort zone.'

She decided she really wanted a job. It isn't necessarily for the paycheck, but more for the ability to say she has a job. Once again, she wants to be like other people in her circle of friends and acquaintances.

She discussed it with me and her BC (behavioral consultant). Both of us urged her to wait until next year and to continue with her volunteer jobs for 2014. She chafed at that advice. She was certain she could be a great employee and never complain, or miss work.
Kalisha had it in her head and in her heart she wanted to apply at Parkview Field with the Tincaps, a minor league baseball team in our town. Despite our best efforts to dissuade her, she filled out an application and sent it in. They called her for an interview. At the end of the interview, she shook hands and said, "I'll see you when you hire me." I love self-confidence and apparently, they did also because they did hire her.

Not content with just one application, she also applied to work at the Vera Bradley Outlet Sale. This is a 5 day event which brings thousands of people to our town, from every state in the union. It is organized chaos in a frenzied way.  Kalisha likes the VB bags and wallets so she was sure she would love to work at this sale. God placed a very understanding person in the interview and hiring area. I told the lady I didn't believe Kalisha would make it for an 8-hour shift; she graciously gave her 4-hour shifts.

Kalisha will have to ride the city bus to and from the coliseum, where this event is held. I will write another post on how she prepared herself for knowing where to enter, get her nametag and apron and find her way around. If we all had this much tenacity, it would be a better world.
As we were discussing her 2 jobs, she said, "I am so excited. I love all the people at the ballgames and I can hardly wait for all the crowds at the VB sale. I just love being in with all the people and excitement."
I told her, "You know, Kalisha, that is very "un-autistic." The wanting to be in the middle of all the action and interacting with the crowds is very uncharacteristic of most people with autism."
She thought about that for a minute and then said, "Maybe I'm not autistic after all."

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